My wife has developed somewhat of an addiction lately. She is constantly engaging in communication with strangers on the Internet. She says it’s usually only 25 words or less and it’s no big deal.
After these strangers began sending her gifts and invites to lavish events I began not to mind so much. It’s seems this addiction is beginning to work out for the both of us.
The latest online competition she won was to go and see the “film” Charlie St Cloud. Usually I wouldn’t go and see a movie featuring Zac Efron or any movie where there is a high risk that lads with better abs than mine will remove their shirts. Especially since these days you can either go for a lovely night at the movies or buy a small island next to Richard Branson’s. This one was going to be free and put on by the editors of two well-known fashion magazines so I thought it was worth attending.
After waiting in the foyer for an additional 45 minutes than the advertised starting time, my wife and I were ushered up the stairs along with a sea of teenage girls. There were also another four or five embarrassed men in the crowd and we exchanged knowing glances that said “we’re cool, honest, we just really love the ladies who made us come.” Once we got inside things got weird. Just as I was expecting the lights to go down, they got brighter as the two magazine editors walked up the front with microphones and told us that we would be treated to a fashion show before Zac and friends came on. They were not what I would expect as the people running this promotional event. They seemed nervous, unsure and as if they had never spoken to a group of people before. They read scripted copy that must have just been printed off at the marketing office a couple of hours before. “We welcome you to … an amazing night of … (turn the page) cinema and fashion…”
What was more interesting than a fashion show before a movie was that the “models” were simply audience members who had not only won a ticket to the movie but a chance to walk the popcorn laden catwalk. It had all the grace, style and fashion as a parade of five year olds at home who had discovered their mum’s makeup and heels. I got a sense that this section of the evening was the fruit of an afternoon of champagne fuelled brainstorming by the marketing juniors at the magazine office. “Like you know what would be TOTALLY amazing? Like if we had a, like, fashion show before the movie started FEATURING our readers as models.” “Oh my god, oh my god O.M.G that is, like, an AMAZING idea!
After the parade it was explained to us what each model was wearing in brain-numbing detail and how each and every outfit was the new look for the season. The announcement of each ensemble was met with an extraordinarily mediocre applause and we were all glad when the movie finally started and the whole embarrassingly awkward spectacle was over. The theory formulating in my mind was that the organizers knew how bad the fashion show would be and after such a performance the movie would shine with awesomeness. Wrong.
Perhaps my experience of the film was tainted by an annoying half-row of people in front of us. I was trying my best to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the movie when right at the serious and emotional moments this group of idiots in front of us would giggle to themselves and chatter. I shushed them a couple of times but it didn’t seem to help. I was joined by a chorus of shushers who were getting annoyed as well. I’m not generally a shusher but these people should have known better than to detract from an already poor movie. I decided that they knew better as they had mature looking haircuts, I could make this out clearly in the semi-darkness. These were not teenagers. What were they even doing here? Every time I or someone else told them to be quiet an older lady at the end of their row would turn around at look right at us but it wasn’t out of anger or indignation or even embarrassment. This was something else. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. For some reason they all eventually shut up and we soon forgot about them and returned our attention the ever-shirtless Efron.
The lights went up as the credits rolled and my wife and I sat chatting about the movie and what we thought of it. Then we remembered the annoying cinema-talkers in front of us and said how we couldn’t believe people like that. Just as our whispered words left our mouths the older lady stood up and ushered the group of Down’s syndrome patients up out of their seats in front of us and out into the isle. I saw that puzzling look one more time from their older carer but this time I understood what she was trying to say all along “sorry they are loud but they are intellectually disabled, I know you don’t know that and don’t want to be a mean person, so please don’t shush them.”
I may never shush again. (Or see another Zac Efron movie.)
Have you had an awkward cinema moment?
PETE CAMPBELL is a Creative: Writer/Producer based from Australia, now based in LA. He has worked on projects for McDonalds, So You Think You Can Dance, Nikon, TEN, The Waratahs, Royal Bank of Scotland, Sydney Opera House, Bankwest, HP, Gumtree, Kijiji Taiwan and a stack more.